Category Archives: Energy

What would really help consumers of essential services?

The report of the ESAN Conference 2018 with conference slides and videos of the presentations where available have now been published. Thank you to everyone who attended and special thanks for the BT team who hosted the event. Please continue to share your thoughts of what would really help consumers of essential services on #ESANdebate.

Citizens Advice publishes best practice guide for energy suppliers

On 18 January Citizens Advice published the findings of its research looking at how energy suppliers could effectively signpost and refer vulnerable customers to third parties, such as debt advice and support services.

The research found that fewer than 1 in 4 consumers believe that their energy supplier had ever offered them help and support, with fewer than one in ten being able to recall being signposted or referred to a third party organisation.
The best practice guide is designed to help energy suppliers signpost and refer vulnerable consumers to the right source of help.

#esanevent stimulates debate on consumer voice

On Wednesday 2 November, 18 speakers and 92 delegates came together at the iconic BT Tower for the ESAN Conference: How can the consumer voice be better heard in the regulation of essential services?  “Fantastic speakers, great content, excellently chaired”   #esanevent
Earth Hour

Ofgem seeks insights for future regulation

Ofgem-standard-picOfgem is to begin a new process of horizon scanning. It wants to better understand what is driving system change, the likely impacts on consumers and the implications for regulation. This information will help it set priorities for the evolution of regulatory arrangements. Ofgem has issued an open letter, explaining how to get involved, asking stakeholders to register their interest at energy.futures@ofgem.gov.uk.

UKRN launches leaflet for vulnerable consumers seeking support services

ukrnThe UK Regulators’ Network has today launched an advisory leaflet to help ensure vulnerable consumers get the help they need to access essential services.

Produced through a collaborative effort between Ofgem, Ofcom, Ofwat, the ORR and the CAA, the leaflet highlights a range of free support services offered by utility, telecommunications and public transport providers.

The UKRN website gives details of how to get braille, audio and large print versions of the leaflet.

Ofgem proposals for prepay customers

OfgemOfgem’s consultation on proposals to improve outcomes for prepayment customers ends 25 February 2016.

The proposals are designed to:

  • help PPM customers to access more competitive tariffs
  • address the costs consumers can face, ensuring these do not fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them, and
  • ensure that PPM customers are treated fairly by their energy providers.

Priority Services for energy consumers

On 17 December 2015, Ofgem published its final proposals for the Priority Services Register, considered integral to its consumer vulnerability strategy. The aim is to ensure that existing services relating to safety, access and communication in the energy market meet the needs of consumers in vulnerable situations.

Priority Services Register Review – Final Proposals

The consultation closes on 18 February 2016.

New research on energy tariffs for vulnerable consumers

Sunset-energy-pic-editedCitizens Advice has published new research on energy tariff options for consumers in vulnerable situations which aims to provide researchers, policy makers and energy market stakeholders with a better understanding of the possible options to ensure that disengaged vulnerable consumers are not penalised by higher tariffs.  The research was carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Energy.  Read more here.

Previous analysis by Ofgem indicates that poorer consumers could be losing out more than other disadvantaged social groups by not switching energy supplier – the number of poorer ‘sticky’ customers (those who are inactive in the energy market) is 10% higher than average amongst these groups. Based on average savings, consumers on non-fixed tariffs could have saved between £158 and £234 a year (2012-2014) had they switched. So Citizens Advice commissioned this research to investigate options to ensure that vulnerable sticky consumers have access to affordable energy.

Dr Toby Bridgeman, researcher at CSE, led the study. He said: “The research shows that there are several straightforward options that could be introduced to significantly reduce the fuel bills of millions of vulnerable consumers who are currently disadvantaged by the energy market, paying over the odds for their fuel. It would be fantastic if the investigation into the energy market being conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority were to recognise and support some of the recommendations in this report.”

 

 

 

Ofgem consults on Priority Services

A gas ring burns on a ring at a home in west London, Tuesday, AuOfgem is reviewing its work on priority services.

 

Consultation closes 22nd September 2014.  Read more here.

 

Ofgem says:

Gas and electricity are essential services. Providing extra services to people who need them to access the market and stay safe remain critically important. This consultation seeks views on proposals that require suppliers, electricity distribution network operators and gas distribution networks to:

•provide additional non-financial services to energy consumers who are more likely than a typical consumer to experience problems with communication, safety and supply;

•take reasonable steps to identify people who would benefit from these services;

•share consumer information with each other and other utility companies, using vulnerability indicators agreed between them;

•raise awareness of services, including developing a single cross-industry brand; and

•conduct annual independent audits of their performance and publish findings yearly